monster bars

As promised, here is a recipe that will start your week off right.  It’s definitely healthy enough to be called a breakfast bar, but delicious enough to be called dessert.  With Jake coming for the weekend, I wanted to come up with a recipe that was packed with real foods, not high in sugar, easy to eat, and easy to take on the go.

I wouldn’t change anything about this recipe.  I cannot stop eating these.  They’re just the perfect balance of soft, sweet, gooey, pnut buttery, oatey, deliciousness.

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Mix all the dry.

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Mix most of the wet.

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Mix in the milk.

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Mix in wet to dry.

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Stir, stir, until just combined and no dry flour is left on the bottom of the bowl.

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Line a pan with parchment.  Trust me.  Go buy parchment.  I use it almost everyday! 

Spread 1/2 the mixture, then the jelly.

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Then plop down scoops of the rest of the oat mixture.  Don’t just plop it down all in one lump or it will be hard to spread on top of the gooey jelly.

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Then bake.  Then feed it to a cute little kid.  For breakfast!

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And watch him smile!

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And then be randomly interrupted in the middle of the post with broccoli cheddar soup from Friday.  The last bowl.  I’m sad!

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Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with smoked paprika??  If you find it, you MUST buy it.  I couldn’t find it at my Whole Foods, but Costco had a huge container for about $3.  It was fabulous sprinkled on my salad that went along with the soup!

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Now where were we???

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There are so so many variations you could make with this recipe.

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Let me rattle off a few….

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recipe variations

instead of jelly in the middle:

mix in options for the bars:

  • chocolate chips/carob chips/white chocolate chips
  • unsweetened coconut
  • chia seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • chopped walnuts/almonds/pecans/peanuts
  • chopped dried fruit

substitution ideas:

  • chocolate almond milk + 1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder [might need extra 1-2T milk] instead of plain or vanilla almond milk
  • whole wheat pastry flour instead of spelt flour
  • applesauce or pumpkin puree instead of mashed banana
  • try other spices instead of cinnamon
  • maple syrup or honey instead of sugar [might need to add 1-3T extra flour]
  • almond butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter, or coconut butter instead of peanut butter

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And now the recipe :)

Monster Bars [makes ~12 bars] *vegan

  • 3c rolled oats
  • 1c spelt flour
  • 1/4c ground flax meal
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 3/4t salt
  • 1 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4c sucanat [or pure cane sugar]
  • 1/2c mashed banana [very ripe]
  • 1/2c organic pnut butter
  • 1/2c unsweetened almond milk [vanilla works also]
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1c no sugar added jelly [any flavor]
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper, or lightly grease bottom + sides of pan.
  3. In a large bowl mix oats, flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon + sugar until combined.
  4. In a medium size bowl mash banana until liquidy.
  5. Whisk in pnut butter to the banana with a fork until combined.
  6. Whisk in vanilla + almond milk with fork until combined.
  7. Add wet to dry and stir with a spoon until just combined.  Batter should be very thick and not too wet.  Mix until no flour or oats are left on the bottom.  If it seems really dry add 1-2T more milk.  If too wet, add 1-2T more flour.
  8. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until smooth.
  9. Spread jelly on top evenly.
  10. Plop down spoonfuls of the rest of the oat mixture on top of the jelly.  It will be easier to spread this way.
  11. Spread carefully with a spatula, until evenly distributed + covering the jelly.
  12. Bake for ~35min until lightly browned on top.
  13. Let cool for about 30min.  Lift bars out by the parchment and cut into bars. 
  14. Wrap individually for on the go transport, or keep in a sealed container in the fridge.

Delicious slightly warm and with a smear of peanut butter on top!  But also delicious straight out of the fridge.  :)  Like I said these are only slightly sweet.  So you may want to use 1/3c-1/2c if you like things a bit sweeter.  For me, 1/4c is the perfect sweetness.  The mashed banana + jelly definitely help! 

These are going to make fabulous mountain snacks.  They’re soft but hold together well.  Very excited.

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I’m about to go raid the fridge for another!

But first, dinner.  We really need to go to the store but despite that fact, scraped together a pretty delicious meal.

main ingredients:

  • tempeh
  • cashews
  • organic frozen sugar snap peas
  • organic frozen tri colored peppers
  • farro
  • millet

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I used the recipe on 101 Cookbooks for maple grilled tempeh.  I had all of the ingredients, and the flavors sounded awesome. 

The only thing I did differently was broil in on low for about 10min per side.  Oh yah, and instead of chipotle powder, I of course used smoked paprika.  Delicious!  I cooked a mixture of farro + millet together.  1 1/4c millet/farro mixed with 2.5c liquid [veggie broth + water combo], simmer with lid, over med-low for about 15-20min, until liquid is absorbed.  Let sit with lid on for 5min then fluff with a fork.  Awesome texture!  I cooked the veggies over med-high heat in 1T coconut oil. 

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Frozen veggies definitely come in handy sometimes.  I don’t use them often but stock up when they’re on sale.  Did you know frozen veggies are said to hold more nutrients than fresh veggies in the store?  That’s because veggies start to lose their nutritional content as soon as they’re picked.  The veggies are flash frozen more quickly than we buy the fresh version at the store, so they actually retain more nutrients.  Interesting!

Some frozen veggies are pretty gross.  Spinach comes to my mind first!

Peppers + snap peas are delicious though!

I’m not sure why, but these light box photos came out looking the more natural yet!  They are a bit washed out but pretty daylight-ish.

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Chris said he liked this meal better than the orange pan glazed tofu from the other week.  I thought they were about equal.  I liked that this wasn’t quite as sweet and I really love tempeh.  Tofu is delicious, but it’s much harder on my digestion [which is very common]. I try to limit my soy consumption, especially processed soy.  However, tempeh is fermented, making it much easier to digest + absorb the nutrients.

We just finished watching the season finale of Dexter.  I thought I was going to lose it!!  So intense.  I’ve never watched a show that got my heart racing as fast as this one.  Definitely one of the best shows ever. 

So much to do before leaving for home on Thursday.  Bed!

<3 Ashley